Carlisle & Finch Co.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers.

What is candlepower?

Candlepower is the capacity of a searchlight to produce light and does not change over distance. (Note: see PDF labeled “Candlepower Distance Chart,” which translates candlepower into distance).

What is Lux?

Lux is a measurement of the intensity of the searchlight beam at a specific distance, and it changes as the distance increases or decreases.

What is the difference between a xenon and halogen searchlight?

Halogen searchlights use a lamp with a filament and require no separate ballast, whereas a xenon lamp has an arc between two electrodes and requires a ballast. Xenon searchlights service a much greater distance because the light source is much smaller. Therefore, the beam can be concentrated into a much smaller, narrower beam on demand.

What is a metal halide searchlight?

This is a searchlight which uses an arc lamp, similar to a xenon arc lamp. However, metal halide lamps have a warm-up cycle and take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute for the beam to come on. Since C&F makes marine and security searchlights, it is a requirement to have a product which is instant on. Therefore, we do not offer this technology.

Does Carlisle & Finch offer LED technology?

Yes. Carlisle & Finch offers a full range of LED searchlights, which serve as an effective replacement for halogen searchlights and provide the following advantages: longer life, lower power consumption, higher reliability, and a much whiter beam (rather than a yellow halogen beam). A white beam is more effective at identifying objects at night.

Does LED technology replace xenon technology?

No. Although the development of LED technology has come a long way in recent years, it still can only service a small fraction of the great distances achieved with xenon searchlights. Therefore, C&F has created hybrid searchlights, which adds auxiliary LED modules to xenon searchlights. This hybrid searchlight, composed of xenon and LED technology, will now effectively service wide areas close to the vessel as well as very long distances, utilizing multiple lighting technologies on demand.

What is electric beam-size focus?

Electric beam-size focus, allows the operator to widen and narrow the beam by activating an electric switch. Since halogen beams are already sufficiently wide, this feature is not as practical for halogen searchlights. However, xenon searchlights can be narrowed and widened very strategically using this feature. Electric beam-size focus is a standard feature on xenon searchlights.

What are the various ways a searchlight can be aimed?

There are three ways a searchlight can be aimed—remote electric joystick control, remote manual lever control, or by using a simple handle attached to the back of the searchlight head.

Can I get a custom color or other finishes?

Yes, you can get custom powder coat colors, as well as a polished brass finish or a chrome finish. Note: In order to provide a custom color, you will have to provide the industry standard paint color (i.e. RAL Code), so we can match the powder to the color you desire.

How can I get parts for an older searchlight?

Simply send an e-mail to, and describe the part you require. Provide the five-digit serial number of the searchlight, which will be stamped on a nameplate located on the searchlight head. Visit the Distributors page to learn more.

What's the difference between a searchlight and a spotlight?

Searchlight and spotlight are often used interchangeably. However, in our industry, we exclusively use the term searchlight.

Plant Shutdown


We will be closed for our Annual 2-Week Vacation from 29-July to 13-August. No orders will be manufactured or shipped during this time. We reopen 14-August-23.